Christian Kroupa – The ‘Wednesday Alternative’ Ransom Note Mix
It's not often we turn our heads to Slovenia in search of new music but maybe that's something we should be doing more often. Why? Well, Radio Študent are a good reason to be sending your head off to Slovenia's shores as they're doing a mighty fine job of bringing out the finest alternative music. We first heard their wares through the excellent Ctrl N compilation album which gave us a good taste of the Slovenian scene. We enjoy their work so much, in fact, that we asked them to provide a mix that would help expand our knowledge of the Slovenian scene and they duly obliged. You can check out the tracklist at the bottom of the interview to learn who exactly has been thrilling your ears.
The mix comes from Christian Kroupa who believes in the style on “serious fun” and, as well as asking Christian some questions about the mix, we also had a chat to Božidar Plesnik – the head music editor at Radio Študent – to find out a bit more about what they do;
Please introduce yourself…
Who are you, where are you and what are you?
Božidar Plesnik: Radio Študent was born in 1969. We're an independent Slovenian radio station. In musical part of our programme we focus mainly on alternative music regardless of its genre and origin. Besides that we also run our label, organize events…
Tell us about the style of music you guys put out – who were you say it sounds like and what is your motivation behind the releases?
BP: ZARŠ Records is not limited with certain types of music. We focus on Slovenian bands and producers, who show prospect in terms of their musical expression and ideas. The thing that motivates us is the need to discover and promote young Slovenian bands and musicians, and try to give them some spotlight.
How did you first get into music? Who was your first great inspiration?
BP: Music as means to fight opression. "¡El pueblo unido, jamás será vencido!"
What was the first electronic record you ever heard? How did it make you feel?
How would you describe the history of electronic music in Slovenia?
BP: Not that different than the rest of Europe. It started with pop experiments during the 80s post punk era and has hit the waves and bitter Slavic souls with anti-establishment industrial and EBM bands such as Laibach and Borghesia. Same goes for more dance orientated electronica. Slovenia held one of the first gay nights in ex Eastern Europe, but due to lack of record supply the beginning was a funny mash up of acid house, early techno and hard core sounds, which took a firm and dark step since the mid 90s with loopy techno becoming the sound of Slovenian dance floors.
What's the current music scene like in Slovenia? Is there a certain sound that is big in the country at the moment?
BP: Slovenia has a rich history big rave parties, raising an entire generation of techno/house and drum'n'bass enthusiasts with an almost encyclopedic knowledge of dance music history. Electronic genres and aesthetics from the 90s and 00s are very much still present weekly all over the country and kept alive by aging ravers, who cling onto them religiously. Music from commercial charts is also an omnipresent constant, but at the same time, as anywhere else in the world, the local scene is always subject to global trends, and – in most part until now – it followed innovation with a certain 2-3 year delay, depending on the promo push. In the last years, though, the internet has radically changed the rate of information exchange, so a big proportion of Slovenian producers have reached a level easily comparable to any producer in the world – Ctrl N compilation shows this versatility and technological aptness. So if we look at what mobilizes the dance floors the most, contemporary bass derivatives would be the suitable candidate – if there's a certain sound that permeates the underground and serves as an inspiration to many, then it must be hip hop, in one incarnation or another – from grainy, hazy boom bap, glitch hop references, chopped and screwed simulacra, vaporwave to footwork and trap, a sound almost unavoidable.
What was the music of your teenage rebellion?
BP: Hip-hop and free jazz.
What's the greatest record you've ever heard? Why does it mean so much to you?
BP: SCH – Deluge and After It just means so much to me.
What’s your favourite place on earth?
BP: Music library of Radio Študent.
If you could have a pet dinosaur, which dinosaur would you choose and what would you do with it?
BP: DINO Lalić (head curator of Ctrl N compilation). If you insist on providing a true animal, I choose brontosaurus. Why: 'cause they're both big ass vegan mofos.
How would you describe your sporting ability?
BP: Champion of the world … always.
What do you do on Sundays?
BP: Listening to good music … longer, more brain consuming pieces.
What is the meaning of life?
BP: 42 or somewhere nearby.
Onto the mix…
Where was the mix recorded?
Christian Kroupa: The mix was recorded at my home, in my bedroom.
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
CK: Hanging with my buddies in the old city centre of Ljubljana, with a quality beer in one hand and a cigarette in another.
What should we be wearing?
CK: Nikes, jogger pants, V t-shirt.
What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format?
CK: It would be at Womb in Tokyo. Playing some jungle, drum & bass classics on Serato Scratch. Don't know which sound system they have, but it sounds dope.
Which track in the mix is your current favourite?
CK: Nicuri- Holding The Four Winds. Just so good!!
What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?
CK: Don't really have one. Depends on my mood. Though, it could be this one: "Delta Funktionen- mnml ssgs special".
If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?
CK: A tough one. If drum&bass was the case, then with dBridge. Because he made me love drum&bass once again hehe.
What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?
CK: It was a borrowed laptop and a midi controller. Now, it is a borrowed Serato Scratch, turntables and a laptop.
What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?
CK: I think it is the last one. Because it confuses me every time. "Should It be something ambient, some easier classics, to chill people down and let them know this is it or should it be a banger, ?"
What were the first and last records you bought?
CK: The first one was, Marcel Dettmann- Dettmann LP. At least I think so. The last one was DJ Qu- The way/ Liquid.
If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?
CK: It would taste like, sugar spice & everything nice.
If it was an animal what would it be?
CK: A dog. Man's best friend.
One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?
CK: Ron Morelli- Sledgehammer II or Raime- Passed Over Trail. Though I would use them at the beginning of a set.
Anything else we need to discuss?
CK: Europe migrant crisis maybe? I love to discuss about politics.
Find out more about Radio Student here.
1) Christian Kroupa- No Complete End
2) Smrgoda- Decision
3) C9 I 2- #1 (edit)
4) Christian Kroupa- Where The Path May Lead
5) Sunny Sun- When We Smoke
6) DJ Shadow- Changeling (Original Demo Excerpt)
7) Borka- Lo Fi Hi Five
8) Žiga Murko- Lizard
9) Warlord Chipmonk- Lou
10) Jozo Elektronik- Kristal IV
11) Evano- Vimana
12) Alleged Witches- Pick Up Your Needle (Intitation Rituals Refix)
13) Chicago Damn- Black Sperm
14) OL- Wet Paint
15) Nicuri- Holding The four Wall
16) Apofenia- Distant
17) Timo Chinala- Waterworld
18) Pev & Kowton- End Point
19) Hodge- Recall
20) Birches- Starlight and Other Fields
21) Laibach- Eurovision (Marcel Dettmann Remix)
22) Borghesia- A.R.
23) Christian Kroupa- Poisonous Valentine